PRO TIP: Control your high

There is a lot of bad things said in regards to the music business and how it can sometimes appear to be an endless party where adults are able to act like perpetual children as long as actual young people continue to support their craft. There may be some truths to that, but as a whole the industry is filled with people who know how to focus when it counts. This doesn’t mean the temptation to indulge does not exist, nor does it mean that professionals always refrain. If anyone knows how to have a good time it’s music professionals, but it’s how people handle those moments that determines their career trajectory.

Here are some words to live by: Control your high.

What is a high? A high is anything you do to cut loose. This can be drinking, smoking marijuana, eating fast food, combining all three, or doing something else entirely that makes you feel good and helps you unwind. Whatever that thing is that you think of when work is at its worst, that is your high.

A high can be good. Everyone deserves to relax and have a little fun after working hard. As long as no one gets hurt, including the individual, people should be able to do whatever they please in order to enjoy life a bit.

The problem is, not everyone can control their high, and some find themselves in a losing battle with the thing they thought was an aide. Addiction is a beast like no other. It has claimed countless industry lives, both on the artist and professional side. Attached to the monster, but also a beast in its own right is depression, which many attempt to ignore through a dependence on their high. There are more killers out there, but these two are in a league of their own, and many see the opportunities working in the music industry presents as a means to ignore the pain in their lives.

Let’s be clear: You should have a good time. There are perks to working in entertainment, and one of them is the opportunity to experiment with a variety of lifestyles and behavior.

If you want to drink, you should drink.

If you want to smoke, you should smoke.

If you want to do anything that does not harm yourself or others, that is your decision.

AND – If you want to success in business and live a long life, you must learn to do all these things in moderation.

You have to control your high because you cannot afford to have it control you, and that is what will happen. If you are lucky there will be people along the way who help keep you on track, but you could just as easily meet people who encourage behavior detrimental to your well being. At the end of the day, you have to look out for you. Your life depends on it.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.